Popota Xmas

In 2017 we were invited by UAU to participate in Popota’s Christmas Show, that took place in Campo Pequeno, Lisbon.

It was a big challenge due to the requirements of the performance:

  • Ultra-Large LED Wall
  • 40 minutes of continuous video
  • Videos triggered in sync with the actors/performers
  • Real-time interactive contents

Having this, we created all the visual contents plus the scene props.

The visuals were created 3D Max, edited and rendered in Unity 3D, then post-processed. Real-time interactive graphics generation was also developed in Unity 3D.

During the creative process, we wanted to have a glimpse of the size relations between the screens and the stage, so we developed a VR stage.

Our Einstein VideoPlayer had to be updated to run large video dimensions with high performance, to achieve this peak performance we used HAP codec. Einstein also received real-time video from a computer vision server running Bonsai linked to Unity, and finally connected to a Spout server (if you are a MAC user, Syphon does the same job), using HAP also allowed us to use multi-layered contents with alpha transparency videos.

This is an image of the two control screens, the left screen is showing an infra-red camera image being analysed in Bonsai, the right screen is our EinsteinVP.

We also created the props, this included a big school rubber, pencils, compass, pencil sharpener and a gramophone.

Popota is a SonaeSierra’s brand.

Visual Art Direction:
Guilherme Martins

3D Modeling:
Filipe Barbosa

Video Creation:
Guilherme Martins, Filipe Barbosa, João Ribeiro

Software Development, Realtime Interaction:
André Almeida, Gonçalo Lopes, Ricardo Imperial

Software Development, Einstein Video Player:
Guilherme Martins

Props Concept and Direction:
Eric Costa

Props Construction:
Eric Costa, José Noronha, Paula Espanha

Solenoids Step Sequencer

Here I’m using a modified Beap Step Sequencer from MAXMSP to trigger Solenoids actuators.
It’s recorded in portuguese, you can enable subtitles.

Pixy Camera Review

This video shows multiple approaches about how to use the Pixy camera, showing also different types of Pan / Tilt systems.
It’s recorded in portuguese, you can enable subtitles.


Artica is the mix of art and technology, and we had been feeling like we only been doing tech work and neglecting our artistic side lately, so Aura Festival was a great opportunity to submit something different.

We did a couple of trips to Sintra to check out the possible locations and brainstorm ideas for things with impact. After we organized some ideas we contacted the organizers of the festival to try and feel out what would make more sense to officially propose. We had originally conceived projects aimed at Quinta da Regaleira in particular, but it seemed to already be reserved for Oskar&Gaspar, so we abandoned those and rethought some concepts for the entrance of MUSA and the entire Avenida Heliodoro Salgado. After some back and forth with the organizers we ended up relocating our assigned space to Avenida dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra with a smaller version of what we were envisioning but still plans to make it look (and sound) awesome.

Our final designated location, Avenida dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra, had some advantages and disadvantages, comparing it with the previous locations. On one hand, the location now allowed us to save some budget on the structures required to hold the water dispersers since we could now use the trees to hold them in place. On the other hand, we now had sound from another installation interfering with our piece. Luckily the team from “You Are Here”, which were installed at Biblioteca Municipal, were quite aware of the issue and very approachable during the first day of installation, and we managed to find a middle ground in terms of volume that would allow both pieces to cohabitate without starting a volume war.

The final piece was never truly closed until the very last minute. Our work method is very Darwinistic, in the sense that it’s the best idea that always wins. So we all try to prove to each other that our personal vision is the one that makes more sense for the piece. When you reach the subjectiveness of art it becomes harder to manage since all ideas can make sense (as long as you contextually justify them), but we still needed to narrow things down into a single option to present to the public.

Here is a photo featuring our piece, taken by Hugo Grilo, a participant on the Festival’s photo contest.

author: Hugo Grilo

We started testing with lasers 2 or 3 months before Aura. For our tests, we rented a cheaper laser, since laser rentals are quite expensive, and an EtherDream2 laser controller.

We did several software tests, first using Maxwell; then openframeworks libraries ofxIlda and ofxEtherdream; and a wrapper for vvvv. All of these had problems and did not work out of the box with the EtherDream2. Maxwell wasn’t supporting Etherdream2 properly, after a few emails with the creator of the application we managed to get it working. The openframeworks libs were ancient, required a “port” to a modern version of OF and only worked on Mac. The wrapper for vvvv was useful to have a .net version of the system, it compile but it still wasn’t detecting the Etherdream 2, we think the library only supported the first version of Etherdream and something changed for the 2. Contacting Etherdream 2 guys was useless, they didn’t reply to any emails we sent. The documentation only isn’t very accurate either, can find lots of information on the first Etherdream but not the second. We ended up making the mac openframeworks version work and then ported it to windows to make a managed code library for .net out of it. In the end, we created a Bonsai node for the laser controller.

We did some tests with shapes and animation, mostly circles and lines. Creating flower shapes, circles, circles within circles, cogs, etc. In the end, we concluded that simple was best, so we used 2 circles.

We also did some tests with the mirror and the structure required to hold and fine-tune it. We needed to have a large enough mirror to reflect 100 meters away a circle with one meter of diameter. We built a system with metal springs and screws that would hold the mirror floating and be able to tighten one side or the other to tilt it slightly. This system enabled some degree of calibration to direct the reflection of the laser once it was pointed at the center of the mirror.

Another point we tested heavily was the particles we wanted to project on, we tried different types of water sprinklers, dispersers and even smoke machines to find out what would be more reliable and interesting. Let me tell you that the visual effect is quite different between a water disperser and a smoke machine but both are quite interesting to look at.

One of us really wanted to have direct human interactivity in the piece, so we ended up testing a few ways on how to integrate the movement of the people and the number of people to affect the laser pulse. This was mostly reflected on how large the circle was and how fast it pulsated. There was also the concept of shaking the circle when there wasn’t much interaction. Some of these ideas worked, others not so much.

We also had some issues with the budget which didn’t allow us to get the optimum PA system, which would ideally be multiple sources evenly spread out through the 100 meters of the piece. So we decided to split bass and treble sounds on different ends of the piece, which kind of worked with the concept of the piece (observing things from different perspectives, mirror reflection causing other points of view, the immersive and organic nature of the object). There were several iterations of sounds tried out, we originally wanted to have the sounds playing on Buzz or Ableton Live and some interactive parameters controlling filters. In the end, there was a decision to move all the audio to MAX/MSP with some combinations of sounds that would interchange. We ended up with a slowed down heartbeat as the main bass sound, the speed being affected by the motion detection. And a set of different samples used for the treble sound. The bass end of the installation had a proper PA. The treble end of the installation had some custom made horns, made out of megaphone amplifiers and some cone shaped plastic materials we had lying around. Max/MSP would send OSC values to Bonsai to sync the heartbeat volume with the luminosity of the laser. We also wanted to have the loudness of the occasional treble sounds affect the shakiness of the circle, but we ran out of time.

We had already made a few test installations at the entrance of Artica at FCT, with random curious people stopping by to take a look and ask us what we were doing. The festival organizers dropped by during some of those sessions as well to also take a look and give some feedback. The public response was always great from day one we started testing things publically, lasers are mesmerizing by themselves, the moment you increase the scale of the object and start adding other elements it becomes completely entrancing.

Walking amongst the people experiencing the piece at Aura Festival you could hear out some impressed comments and mentions that it was the best thing they’ve seen at the festival so far. This feedback made us very happy. After so many after work hours invested into the project polishing it to its maximum potential under the budget limitations, we were really thrilled to witness its positive impression on the attendees. Thank you to the Festival organizers, our product partners and all the attenders of the festival for such wonderful few nights in Sintra presenting our piece “532nm”.

Concept, Equipment Design:
Eric da Costa

Eric da Costa, João Ribeiro, José Noronha

Laser Control Software:
André Almeida, Tarquínio Mota, Ricardo Imperial

Sound Software:
Guilherme Martins

Sound Design:
Filipe Barbosa, Guilherme Martins

O Tempo, de Adriana Queiroz

TEMPO de Adriana Queiroz 

“O Tempo de um passo,
O Tempo de um compasso,
O Tempo de um poema,
O Tempo de uma emoção,
O Tempo de um tema,
O Tempo destas gerações pós-guerra que ainda hoje parecem controlar o tempo de melodias para sempre enraizadas nas nossas memórias.”

é um projeto musical concebido por Adriana Queiroz, no qual a cantora se debruça sobre a música francófona através dos seus cantautores mais representativos.
Dando especial destaque a Jacques Brel e a Leo Ferré, viaja-se pelo mundo emocional de Barbara, o encantamento de Trenet, a loucura de Gainsbourg, o surrealismo de Boris Vian, a intemporalidade de Piaf, que não sendo cantautora é uma figura incontornável da música francesa do século XX. Adriana Queiroz estará acompanhada ao piano por Filipe Raposo.

India Song (Marguerite Duras | Carlos Alessio
concepção | voz Adriana Queiroz 
arranjos | piano Filipe Raposo 
apoio vocal Luis Madureira 
sonoplastia Adriana Queiroz | Antonio Pinheiro da Silva 
luzes Helena Gonçalves | Pedro Mendes
banco imagens Tiago Guedes e Frederico Serra | Nucleo Casulo 
participação filme Adriana Queiroz, Claudia Jardim, Sandra Rosado Felix Lozano, Ivo Canelas, Paulo Pinto, Romeu Runa 
vídeo Artica | Guilherme Martins
Filmado no Teatro Camões por Marco Arantes edição (India Song) Alexander David

Avengers STATION Exhibition

Through our partnership with Audience Entertainment we helped develop certain components of a large interactive exhibition produced by Victory Hill Exhibitions for Marvel. The Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Exhibition was installed in both Paris and Las Vegas and is planned to have a small tour through the world ( Singapore in October). The exhibition features the history and lore of the Avengers characters, with a tour through the different characters, their powers, their suits, etc. We have collected a few press clips: 1 2 3 4 5

The modules we developed for the exhibit were the final game and the debriefing room which visitors can experience at the end of the exhibition tour. This project came to us through our partner Audience Entertainment, we worked in tight collaboration with Victory Hill ExhibitionsAcoustiguidetech Las VegasDiablo Sound and Photamate to integrate it as smoothly as possible with the rest of the exhibition systems.

The most immediate concern was the visual aspect of the game, playing on 6, person tall, 4K vertical screens. The game is only 3 minutes long, including the game mechanics explanation, and it was developed having in mind recent movie lore of Avengers.

When a visitor reaches the final game area they are requested to swipe their rented iPods running the exhibition application developed by Acoustiguide on a beacon and the players are divided into teams, each assigned its own Avenger, and they use their special controls to attack Ultron and his sentries.

Our developed game required an interface with the local control system to trigger the start and end of the game, to handle light system interaction and the opening and closing of the doors. When the game is over the wall of screens opens revealing the exit where another videowall screen has an application playing a congratulatory video and displaying the Avengers STATION ID cards of the players who just finished the final game. The IDcards are generated by the Photomate server, we designed a simple API with them to handle the creation and retrieval of the ID cards using minimum bandwidth possible.

Victory Hill Exhibitions

Victory Hill Exhibitions

Artica Creative Computing

Interaction Design
André Almeida, Guilherme Martins

Game Development
André Almeida, Alexandre Costa, Filipe Barbosa

Video Intro
Guilherme Martins

© 2024, Guilherme Martins